Hundreds of Happy Hellos from Punta Gorda.
As I write this, I only have about six days of work left. Things are winding down and will soon come to an end here for me in Belize. It's an odd feeling, bittersweet as some say. However, I still have one more blog after this one to post, so enough sentimentality.
Last year I came in first place in the JVC photo contest. This year, the new contest involves taking between three and ten pictures over one week to show what life is like. Thus, this blog is:
A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF JEREMY
We begin as I always do, at school. Rain has been a constant lately, keeping my laundry damp and my windows shut. It is even raining during the day, which only happened a handful of times last year. One day it rained during lunch break, so about a quarter of the school never came back in the afternoon. We manage though.
One day, in an attempt to get some good candid pictures of the students, I loaned out my camera at break time. Many poor pictures were taken, though this one was pretty decent. Bravo Clifton.
Between 2:30 and 3:30 I've been running an art club for the younger students who are waiting for their older siblings. Usually we just color and draw and they try to cause as much trouble as they can. I really like this picture, namely because of the contrast between the foreground and background.
Also this week was a huge headache for me. The school had to submit a banner for a competition, and due to my artistic endeavors this year, I was put in charge. Sadly, we didn't get the material for the banner until the day before it was due, so mayhem ensued. I enlisted a number of students to come help paint, but I still was up at 3:30am the next day trying to finish. It turned out well, but the results have not been heard.
Two weeks ago the JVs in Belize had our Re-Orientation/Dis-Orientation retreat. The bosses from DC come down and ran this retreat as a chance to reflect on the past year and look ahead to what is coming. It was great, though the average temperature in the shade was about 90. One of the JVC staff members was Pat Cassidy, who lived in PG the two years before I arrived. It was great having him around and we forced him to help us make fried plantains.
Those fried plantains were used for Al's Birthday! It was a most glorious day and we had a bunch of choir ladies for dinner to surprise her. Kathleen made nice cake and there were candles. Hooray!
When I wasn't organizing the school banner, I completed probably my last library painting. It's on the ceiling in the middle of the library. Here it be.
Last Friday was Teacher's Day. Last year we went on an overnight trip, but this year it was only a day trip. We got to hang out at Belcampo Lodge, which costs $400US a night to stay there. We got a crazy discount to use their facilities, like the kayaks, the pool, and mountain bikes. Mostly we just hung out and enjoyed nice drinks and food.
This weekend was Cacao Fest. Since Belize, and this district in particular, produces a great deal of chocolate, what better way to trump up interest (as if more interest in chocolate was needed) than a three day festival. On the last day there was a big concert/performance at Lubaantun, the closest Mayan temple to me. Sadly it rained, very, very hard. Also, riding in the back of a pickup in the rain is the worst.
At Lubaantun, after the rain cleared, I ate a whole lot of food. Then we got to watch the traditional Mayan Deer Dance. It was very cool. Here's some of the guys.
Part of the deer dance includes audience participation. Since the monkey is always playing tricks on people, this is a chance for payback.
Mayan children playing a ballgame at a temple. Classic.
That's all for today. Check in sometime next week for:
THE FINAL BLOG FROM BELIZE